While attendees are going to have a lot of varying reasons for going to the ASAE Annual Meeting, one thing’s for certain: we are all trying to network! Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, walking up and mingling with strangers can be a truly intimidating experience. To relieve some of this stress, we came up with nine questions for you to try out at ASAE Annual (and really any conference) to connect with your fellow attendees.
- How did you get involved in your association?
- What do you enjoy most about your association?
- What do you do in your spare time?
These easy types of questions will allow for you to gauge the interest of your conversation with the other person. Their answers will allow for you to see if you have anything in common, from your industry to your personal interests. This method is a great way to get your foot in the door with a stranger and to create a casual, relaxed conversation to get things started off right.
- How would you describe the ideal member for your association?
- What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your association?
- What separates your association from others like it?
If you felt like your basic questions went over well, you might want to try to dig a little deeper to see what else you can discover. At this point, your networking questions should be to determine two things: some unknown, useful knowledge about their industry and establishing a possible future partnership/relationship. This partnership could be a collaboration between your organizations or even a possible future job. Either way, these questions definitely “take it to the next level.”
- What one thing would you do with your association if you knew that you could not fail?
- What do you see as the coming trends in your association?
- Can I be of help to you right now?
If you’ve reached the advanced level questions, then your conversation is probably going strong. At this point, these types of questions are going to help emit your genuine interest in continuing to keep in touch with these new contacts. Remember to hold off on these questions though until you’re sure that it’s a good fit for both sides.
The most important tip we can provide about networking is that it takes practice! Don’t let one bad conversation turn you off from trying to network for the rest of the conference. If you’re still feeling a bit nervous about ASAE#17, check out our post about navigating ASAE#17 as a newbie!